One of my earliest school memories is sitting in Mrs. Gonzalez’s first grade classroom listening to her read Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See? by Bill Martin Jr. and Eric Carle. My favorite part was hearing the words, “Teacher, teacher, what do you see? I see children looking at me!” The illustrations were bold and vibrant and appealed to our sense of color. We requested the book over and over again. Thirty-five years later, I still get a thrill from those words and I find myself reading it aloud over and over again to captivated audiences of children.
Nursery and grade 4 have both shown interest in Eric Carle’s illustrations. Be sure to step by the nursery classroom to see their “I Love Eric Carle” bulletin board. There are many gorgeous collage paintings of animals by the nursery students. Of special note is Shizuka’s Carle-inspired artwork. The teachers have posted photos of Shizuka creating her collage. It is marvelous to see Shizuka so engaged in the process. It is a wonderful bulletin board, as bold and vibrant as the nursery students who created it!
Grade 4 today did a mini-author study on Eric Carle, as a tie-in to their How we express ourselves unit, Visual Arts. As they looked at different Eric Carle books, the students commented on the use of color, symmetry and the effectiveness of the collages. I hope that although their unit on the visual arts is coming to an end, they will find inspiration in Eric Carle to continue exploring their options as artists.
Click here for a list of Eric Carle books in our library collection. We have many of his 70+ books, including several translated into languages other than English. Click here for Eric Carle’s official website. I thought the Photo and Video Gallery was particularly interesting. There are videos that show his art processes and several photo albums.
The fourth graders also saw a short video presentation by Eric Carle, prepared on the 40th anniversary of his book, The Hungry Caterpillar. (It was funny to hear almost every single fourth grader exclaim in delight at seeing The Hungry Caterpillar. They all knew it from preschool, but they listened happily to it again today.) In this video presentation, Eric Carle explains how the book came to be and how the book’s editor helped to shape it. He also speaks about color and how much he loves it.
Eric Carle visited Japan in the 1980s and was inspired by the picture book art museums of that country. He founded the Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art in 1991. Click here for a link to the museum. If you are ever near Amherst, Massachusetts, do try to visit. It looks like a marvelous place to explore. In the meantime, come to the library and check out an Eric Carle book or two.